There will never be such a thing as too much cross-compatibility between devices, too much information that we can volley back and forth between handy platforms. The newly announced Wacom Bamboo Spark effectively erases a need for hand-transcribing written notes into type by actively transcribing handwriting into a digital facsimile as you scrawl.
Smartpens aren’t necessarily a “new” concept. They’ve just been a worthwhile invention with an unfortunate limitation. Pens such as the Neo Smartpen N2, Orée Stylograph and LiveScribe Sky all directly digitize and transmit handwriting to a mobile device or computer. However, all three models are conceived to require brand-unique special paper for transcription and employ three tiny cameras at each pen’s nib to chart pen-strokes. The Wacom Bamboo Spark is a non-electronic writing instrument that digitizes writing from any A5-sized paper you choose.
Your paper lays across an electro-magnetic resonance folio that senses the Bamboo Spark ballpoint tip’s location. It records the specialized Wacom ink’s strokes from actual writing to elaborate drawings and distinguish each stroke’s relative position on the page. Charged via USB connection for up to eight hours of continuous use, the smart folio can store up to 100 pages of data to its onboard memory. It then syncs your writing to a paired iOS or Android mobile device’s app when you’re ready, allowing for basic editing and other personalized options available exclusively through a free Wacom Cloud account.
All three Bamboo Spark models are priced at US$159.95, €159.90 or £119.99. Replacement ink is sold in packs of three refill cartridges, each lasting about three months, for $9.99.